12 - 2023 - TR Classroom Girl

Am I eligible for the WEA Teacher Residency program?

You will first want to determine your eligibility. Find our application checklist. In considering their eligibility to apply, candidates often have questions about degrees, district placements, and existing certificates.

  • Degree. You must have been obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher prior to the program start date. The degree may be in any area and may have been issued in another country. Find out more in our FAQ.
  • District placement. You must be available for residency (student teaching) in one of our partner districts: Auburn, Federal Way, Mukilteo, Pasco, Peninsula, Sedro Woolley, Sumner-Bonney Lake, or Walla Walla. Some districts have specific requirements regarding prior employment or other relationships with the district. See our FAQs below for additional information. 
  • Certificate status: If you hold a teaching certificate or have completed a teacher preparation program in Washington state, another state, or another country, you may already be eligible for a Washington state residency teaching certificate. If this is the case, you would not be eligible for WEA’s program. Please contact the OSPI Certification Office at cert@k12.wa.us or (360) 725-6400 to determine your certificate status.
    • If you already hold a teacher certificate and are interested in adding a special education endorsement, complete our interest survey to be notified if and when WEA offers an endorsement-only program.
What is the application process for WEA's Teacher Residency Program?
There is a two-step application process. Find out about the process on our application pageApplications for the 2024-25 WEA Teacher Residency program are now closed. Complete our interest survey to be informed when applications for the next cohort open.
How do I apply for WEA's Teacher Residency Program?

WEA’s program will be available in 2025-26 subject to continuing program approval through PESB and appropriate funding. 

Find an?application checklist?to help you plan your process. There are two main steps to this application. All steps?must be completed and documents uploaded prior to the application deadline.? 

Step 1: Application.?Share contact information and district preferences, and respond to short questions about your experience and assessments. This should take about 15-30 minutes and must be completed in one sitting.?View the entire application here?so you will know what will be asked. 

Step 2: Document portal.?After you complete Step 1, you will receive a link via email to Step 2, the document portal. In this step, you will upload documents including an unofficial transcript, resume, personal narrative, and two letters of recommendation, at least one from a supervisor. Find details of documentation required

What parts of the application should I start first?

Some parts of this application require you to schedule a testing appointment or request documents from other organizations or people. You will want to get these parts started first in order to complete them by the admissions deadline: ? 

  • Schedule a Basic Skills assessment.?There is no requirement to pass, but you must take this prior to the application deadline, and submit scores to WEA in reading, writing, and math. This assessment is one of multiple measures used in the admissions process. Find out more on testing options and scheduling in the?application FAQ below. 
  • Request a transcript?documenting a bachelor’s degree or higher. We need an unofficial transcript submitted as part of the application by the deadline. An official transcript needs to be sent to us by the college/university, or by an approved international credential evaluating agency. Find out more in the?application FAQ below. 
  • Request two letters of recommendation.?At least one of the letters must be from a?current or most recent supervisor.?Note:?Teachers are not supervisors of paraeducators. The supervisor for a paraeducator is generally the principal, assistant principal, special education director, or someone in a similar administrator role. *If you have experience with students or children, at least one of the letters must document that experience, including length of experience.  
What type of degree is required for WEA's program?

For admission to the program, a bachelor’s degree or higher must be earned prior to the program start date. In addition to uploading an unofficial transcript in the document portal, please have the institution(s) which granted your bachelor’s degree or higher send an official transcript to: 

admissions@washingtonea.org

or 

WEA Teacher Residency Program 
P.O. Box 9100 
Federal Way, WA 98063-9100 

Please keep your receipts for any costs associated with obtaining the transcripts. Email the receipts, along with a description of the cost and the address we should mail your reimbursement check to admissions@washingtonea.org.

What if I completed a degree in another country?

If the degree was completed in another country, or if the primary language of the transcript is not English, you must provide a translation and verification of the equivalency of the degree. Find a list of acceptable credentialing equivalency services.

The service you select should send the translated, official transcripts and equivalency verification directly to the WEA Teacher Residency program at the email or address listed above.

We require a document-by-document equivalency,?NOT?a course-by-course equivalency.? 

Please keep your receipts for any costs associated with the degree equivalency and translation service. Email the receipts, along with a description of the cost and the address we should mail your reimbursement check to admissions@washingtonea.org

What are district eligibility requirements for the residency (student-teaching) experience?

You must be available and eligible to student teach in your selected district during the school year. District eligibility requirements for student teaching include: 

Auburn, Battle Ground, Federal Way,?North Thurston, Pasco, Peninsula,?Sedro Woolley, Sumner-Bonney Lake, and Walla Walla are willing to consider applicants with or without a previous relationship to the district. 

Mukilteo:?Applicants must be a current district employee. Please contact the district for?employment opportunities

Renton:?Renton prioritizes current paraprofessional staff, but will consider others who know and are involved in Renton schools. 

What assessments are required to apply to the WEA Teacher Residency program?

Taking a basic skills assessment is required for program admission and must be taken prior to the application deadline, so please schedule this right away if you have not already taken it.?You must request that a score report be sent to the?WEA.?There is no minimum required passing score. The results of this assessment are one of multiple measures used in the admissions process, and will be used by the WEA teacher residency program to design candidate supports.

Basic skills exams approved for Washington teacher preparation program admission:

  • WEST-B: Register for the WEST-B. Request a WEST-B score report be sent to the WEA. Prior to registering for the WEST-B, please request a voucher from admissions@washingtonea.org to cover test fees.
  • SAT: Request a SAT score report. Use the Code 9284 -Washington Education Association to request your scores be sent to the WEA.
  • ACT: Request an ACT score report. Use the Code 8087 -WEA Teacher Residency Program to request your scores be sent to the WEA.
  • Washington state approved Basic skills exams from other states 

Many applicants will have previously taken the SAT or ACT, and these past scores can be submitted. There is no expiration date for these exams, although be aware that if the College Board (SAT) or ACT is unable to retrieve your scores, you will need to take the WEST-B. 

Your score report needs to include separate results in reading, writing, and math. In many years, the SAT and ACT did not include a writing test, or writing was optional. If you do not have a writing score for your SAT or ACT, you will need to take the WEST-B writing subtest. Please request a voucher from admissions@washingtonea.org prior to registering for the WEST-B writing subtest.

WEA will provide you with a WEST-B voucher so you do not have to pay a testing fee. Request a WEST-B voucher by emailing?admissions@washingtonea.org?PRIOR?to registering for the WEST-B. 

To be reimbursed for any fees for requesting SAT or ACT scores, please keep your receipt, and email a copy of your receipt, a description of what the cost was for, and your mailing address for receiving a check to?admissions@washingtonea.org.? 

What if I already hold a teacher certificate, or have already completed a teacher preparation program?

If you hold a teaching certificate or have completed a teacher preparation program in Washington state, another state, or another country, you may already be eligible for a Washington state teaching certificate. If this is the case, you would not be eligible for WEA’s program. Please contact the OSPI Certification Office at?cert@k12.wa.us?or (360) 725-6400 to determine your certificate status. 

What kind of certificate will I receive after successful completion of the WEA's Teacher Residency Program?

WEA’s Teacher Residency Program receive a residency teacher certificate. This is a full teacher certificate in Washington state. While WEA is an Alternative Route program, this means that candidates pursue an alternative route to the same certificate obtained in traditional route programs, not an alternative certificate. WEA is approved by the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) to offer Alternative Routes 2, 3, and 4.

If you are considering teaching in another state, this residency certificate is considered in the same way other Washington state teacher certificates would be considered. You would need to contact the other state to determine that state’s requirements for out-of-state teachers.

What endorsement will I receive after successful completion of WEA's Teacher Residency Program?
Successful completers of WEA’s Teacher Residency Program receive a special education endorsement. In Washington state, this endorsement is associated with special education programs in all grade levels. Washington state does not offer specific endorsements for specific specialty areas within special education. This special education endorsement is separate from the early childhood special education (see Q6) endorsement.
What if I want to pursue other endorsements not offered by WEA?

During the residency program itself, we encourage you to focus on the special education residency experience. However, it is important to know that you may pursue other endorsements.

Some endorsements are available through passing a test. Other endorsements require completing an endorsement program and passing a test. Find out more.

What is the cost of the WEA Teacher Residency Program? Is financial support available?

Each resident will be responsible for paying $5,000 of the program cost. WEA encourages all individuals to apply for the program, regardless of the ability to pay the $5,000 program cost. WEA is committed to assisting residents to remove as many barriers to achieving certification as possible. 

Remaining costs?beyond the $5,000 resident responsibility are supported through grants and a variety of funding sources. The remaining costs for some residents will be funded through a Washington state?Alternative Route Block Grant scholarship loan.?This loan is forgiven upon completion of a teaching service commitment.  

If you anticipate seeking WEA financial support for the $5,000, please complete the?FAFSA.?Please know that this year’s FAFSA form takes much less time to complete than in previous years, and FAFSA processing time has improved greatly in recent months.?Find support on completing the FAFSA.?Individuals not wishing to submit the FAFSA due to immigration status may choose to complete Washington state’s?WASFA

After admission, residents seeking WEA financial support will be asked to submit their FAFSA Submission Summary to the WEA in a secure portal. You’ll be able to access your?FAFSA Submission Summary?once your FAFSA form is processed, which usually takes one to three business days.  

Instead of indicating WEA as a FAFSA recipient, please save your FAFSA/WASFA submission summary as a pdf, or make a screencap. This is the document you will submit to the WEA, and it must include your Student Aid Index (SAI). 

What compensation will I receive as a resident in WEA's program?
Compensation and benefits are provided by the individual school districts. In January through June of 2025, residents will be working as paraeducators and receive compensation and benefits according to their local district’s collective bargaining agreement for paraeducators. In the 2025-26 school year, districts are providing a minimum of $40,000 compensation for the year, plus benefits. For specific questions on the compensation or benefits, please contact?the?local education association president or UniServ director, or the school district human resources office.
What letters of recommendation will I need to apply to this program?

You will need to submit two letters of recommendation. At least one of the two letters must be from a current or most recent supervisor.? 

Note:?Teachers are not supervisors of paraeducators. The supervisor for a paraeducator is generally the principal, assistant principal, special education director, or someone in a similar administrator role. 

If you have experience working with students or children, at least one of the letters must document your experience, including length of your experience, and must be from school district personnel, other employer, volunteer supervisor, or someone with knowledge of your work. 

If your current or most recent supervisor is able to document your experience with students or children, you will still need to submit two letters, but the second letter may be from someone else of your own choosing. 

What are the requirements to complete the WEA Teacher Residency Program?

Please review the WEA Teacher Residency?program admission and completion requirements. Program completion requirements include but are not limited to completion of coursework, a minimum of 540 hours of residency (student teaching), 2,000 hours of field experience (the 540 hours of student teaching counts towards this), and passing a content knowledge assessment (Special Education WEST-E 070) or obtaining a case-by-case exception. 

The anticipated program completion timeline for most candidates is January 2025 through June 2026, which includes summer 2025. Review the program calendar. All candidates must complete the program within five years from the date of admission. 

Does the WEA Teacher Residency Program offer credits and degrees?
WEA is a Washington state approved clock hour provider, and you would be earning clock hours as part of the teacher residency program. Districts may consider these clock hours in their salary placement. WEA does not grant degrees or credits. 
Do completers of WEA's Program need to commit to teaching in a specific district or in special education?

Upon successful completion of the WEA Teacher Residency program, residents will be provided an interview and a conditional job offer in their residency school district. You commit to working as a certificated teacher in your district for three years upon offer of employment. Exceptions may be made for unique circumstances with mutual agreement between the district, individual and WEA. Please review this?2023-24 candidate agreement?as this upcoming year's agreement will be similar.  

If your program costs are being funded through the?PESB Alternative Route Block Grant (ARBG)?scholarship loan, you agree to teach in a Washington State K-12 public school after earning your certificate. Your conditional scholarship loan will be forgiven when you:

  • Serve as a teacher in a shortage area (such as special education) for one full-time school year, OR
  • Serve as a teacher in any area for two full-time school years

Substitute teaching may count towards this teaching service. Participants who do not fulfill their teaching obligation will have to repay the award, with interest and other fees. See sample promissory note.

Do I need to pass a fingerprint background check for WEA's Teacher Residency Program?
A fingerprint background check and a pre-residency clearance or certificate is required prior to field experience in schools. A character and fitness questionnaire is part of this process. Field experience will begin with the summer’s program. Find information on fingerprinting procedures. WEA will provide financial support for the costs of fingerprinting. You do not need to take any action now on this. More information will be provided after admissions to accepted applicants.
If I am not accepted to WEA's Teacher Residency Program, or if WEA's Teacher Residency Program is not right for me, what are my other options for becoming a teacher in Washington state?

If you are interested in teaching in Washington state, we encourage you to complete a preparation program approved by the Washington state Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB). See, “How do I become a teacher?” for more information from PESB.

More questions not answered in this FAQ?
Please email admissions@washingtonea.org. We are happy to help!

How will applicants be selected for the program?

We anticipate receiving many applications for a relatively small number of openings in WEA’s program. 

WEA Teacher Residency’s six core values will be used to assess applicants’ readiness for the program throughout the selection process. Please feel free to review them to ensure you understand our program’s focus.

  1. Collaboration & Connection
  2. Reflection
  3. Impact
  4. Strategic & Intentional Instruction
  5. Student & Family Centered
  6. Dignity & Integrity 

WEA is using a holistic review of all application materials in making admissions decisions. These materials include:

  • Personal narrative
  • Interview process, including reflection on virtual teaching simulation
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Resume or description of experience
  • Transcript
  • Basis skills assessment scores in reading, writing, and math. See FAQ for list of acceptable assessments. There is no minimum passing score. Assessments are one of multiple measures used in the admissions process.
  • Other items submitted as part of the application